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Writing Untruth on application where most others do so


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tammuz 15, 5782
Shalom Rabbi, I hope this email finds you well. I am a college student and am applying to Physician Assistant (PA) school this summer IYH. As part of my application to PA school, I am supposed to shadow PAs and doctors for a minimum of 250 hours, but my teachers advised that I should at least aim for 500 hours since the program is very competitive. Up to this point, I was unable to shadow a PA since I was so busy with classes and exams, and did not want to distract from my studies/ did not have the time to go to offices to observe doctors and PAs. I am hoping to apply by September 1st (which is already late for the programs rolling admissions) but it will be very difficult to fit in 250 hours of shadowing, let alone 500 hours into the remaining time before I need to submit my application. I know that many students, unfortunately, exaggerate their shadowing hours by a lot (like changing 100 hours to 400 with permission of the physician they shadowed) and others have jobs at medical offices making their hours somewhere around 1000 or even 4000 hours easily. I was offered by various family friends who are physicians if I wanted them to write up hours for me, and I declined their offer, but felt that since other students are doing the same thing, I would be at a disadvantage? But at the same time, I would feel terrible if I got into PA school over someone who really worked hard for their hours. I am so confused on how to approach this situation. I 100% understand that Hashem is in control of whether or not I am accepted into the program, but I didn't want to make a silly decision of being so strict with my hours when so many other students and applicants do this without thinking twice. I would so appreciate your wisdom and guidance on this matter. I only want to please Hashem and approach my future career in a kosher way. I just dont want to rule myself out of being accepted for a reason that everyone else is dishonest about. Do you think an option would be to do the best I can and then fill in the rest of the hours to somewhere around 500 hours? Thank you so much for your advice and guidance in advance. I truly appreciate it. All the best,
Firstly, please allow me to genuinely respect and compliment your wish to be totally honest, which obviously is generally the best way to live our lives. Usually honesty is not only the best, but also the most beneficial (!) policy. The best way to get from one point to another is via a "straight" line! On the other hand, the Living Torah is not naïve and recognizes the fact that certain situations do not call for an exact answer. When you are asked: How are you? The questioner usually isn't all that interested in your going into the details of your health, social, work, and financial situation! Accordingly, it's accepted and permissible to answer: "fine" or even in Hebrew: "Hakol b'seder" (=all is fine) even if not really all (!) is fine. Accordingly, if it's common knowledge and common practice to exaggerate on this issue, then you have little choice, and are allowed to do so, as well, for apparently that's the accepted framework and you're not really misleading them. Do as much as you can, and also try and eventually fill in the hours that you wrote. B'hatzlacha Rabba!
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